“Don’t judge a man (person) until you’ve walked two moons in his (their) moccasins”
Hmmm…this is a tricky one. We know that folk who’ve been slapped in the face with unemployment, often with the added assaults of physical and/ or mental health problems, have to deal with the added indignity of prejudice and discrimination to their plight.
These same people know what the world thinks of them, through the deluge of hateful rhetoric from the mainstream media. They’re ‘Skivers’ who suffer from generational ‘worklessness’ a terrible condition handed on through generations.
We watch the funny people, with their flat screen TV’s, iPhones and designer clothes on zoo TV, as they smoke, drink and gamble their way through life.
Although we know this isn’t the truth, and that the media have strived to deliver this bizarre caricature…
But it sticks, doesn’t it?
Today though, I’m not interested in this particular flavour of nonsense…
No, I’m keen to lift the curtain on the creators and purveyors of this Draconian system.
What goes on in the Minds of the people behind Universal Credit?
I’m inclined to start with Nazi Germany, where the third Reich made it easy for their soldiers to mete out horrific atrocities against the Jews by ‘othering’ the objects of their hate, calling them Untermenschen – sub-human.
Or the Hutus in Rwanda, who slaughtered millions of their country folk, mainly Tutsis, referring to them as ‘Cockroaches’
If we look at the Milgram Experiment we know that a large percentage of folk, when faced with perceived authority figures, have a tendency to do as they’re told – to conform – often to the point where they believe they’ve killed someone.
We’ve just heard from the BMJ – the British Medical Journal – an esteemed publication – that an estimated 120 thousand people in the UK have died prematurely because of austerity.
What must be going on in the Minds of the people behind these policies? What pressures/ beliefs/ cultural norms are they reacting to, to somehow make this ok?
Already we’ve heard responses to the BMJ paper – where folk dismiss the findings, blandly stating that correlation does not mean causation.
But, fuck, it’s tempting to draw conclusions, isn’t it?
How did they arrive at the belief that the tough love stick is required to control the unemployed masses, where the already wealthy require the loving caress of even more money to keep them sweet?
Is it as simple as ‘These wealthy folk are just like me’ ? and, ‘These poor folk are in poverty because of their own fecklessness’?
If that’s the case, where do these beliefs come from and, more to the point, how are they propagated?
Meanwhile, down at the coal face, we have the hundreds of Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) staff who are implementing these austere policies – the 42 day wait between the application for Universal Credit and the delivery of any money.
What kind of individual deliberately omits to tell folk about the, granted measly, crisis loans that do little to alleviate the financial pain.
What must be going on in the mind of the staff who strike claimants with benefit sanctions – where people have their money stopped for anything between 3 days and 3 years?
Surely they must know the untold hardship they’re causing by cutting off a person’s only access to money.
We hear that staff are given bonuses for delivering these sanctions…but what would YOU do in these circumstances? Would the temptation of a juicy bonus get you to financially fuck up someone’s life?
What if you were immersed in a culture where benefit applicants were seen as somehow less than you? Somehow different…
The reason I ask all these questions is because I really don’t have a fucking clue.
I know I’ve flogged this relentlessly, but all, not some, not most, ALL the people I met on my way around the edge of our lovely island, were lovely, fabulous, generous and hospitable – trusting and trustworthy…
These were people of all political persuasions and walks of life.
Conclusion – people are fabulous.
So what in the name of cracky pants leads to the punitive, hateful behaviours by the policy makers and the individuals delivering these ill thought through policies?
It would be so easy for us to ‘other’ them…label them as psychopaths…sycophants…powercrazed…
Given the chance, would you deliver a retaliatory system on them? A, ‘That’ll teach the bastards’ policy that would make them suffer?
Look, I didn’t say I had the answers. If you want to look at another experiment that demonstrates the inhumanity of humans, take a look at the Zimbardo mock prison debacle…
Walk a Mile